Friday, December 12, 2008

By Default

A few years ago as part of buying a house the old-fashioned way, saving up money beforehand, we stopped going to restaurants during the week. It was depressing how much money this saved. The exception was Thursday night, when we did cheap takeout. Of course once you have the house you have to maintain the house and what exactly where they thinking when they put that tile in the bathroom? So, the tradition continued.

And the back-story continues. A friend of a co-worker does marketing for Budweiser and he provided some insight on their advertising theme. It seems that the overall goal of Budweiser advertising is to establish it as the “default beer,” not the best beer, the default beer. I was fascinated by the idea and have been looking for similar patterns in other marketing campaigns and in the grand tradition of looking for something you see it everywhere. Particularly in policy campaigns, where I am looking hardest. On almost every issue there is a mad scramble to define the “default solution.”

Theory in action occurred last night as I stopped to pick up wine before getting the takeout. A couple walked in, he strolled over and bought one of the 2-liter white wines they sell while she gazed in wonder at the wall of beer in the coolers. “What should I get?” she asked. “I don’t know, Bud Light?” he asked back. A 12-pack of Bud Light was soon on the counter, the default beer.

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